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Betje Jakobs

Zwolle, Netherlands


Betje and her sister Saartje were born to Jewish parents in the town of Zwolle in the Netherlands' north central province of Overijssel. Betje was known affectionately as "Bep" to her friends. The Jakobs family owned a successful sporting goods store.

1933-39: As a young girl, Betje enjoyed playing the piano, knitting and tennis. At age 16, while still in secondary school, she began to date Maurits Wijnberg, a boy two years her senior, whose family owned Zwolle's Hotel Wijnberg.



Low Countries, 1933
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1940-42: The Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. Two years later, on August 4, 1942, Betje and Maurits were married. Betje could not officially move in with her new husband due to Nazi edicts that forbade Jews to change their address. She therefore continued to live with her parents. That same year, the Nazis confiscated the Wijnbergs' hotel, and Maurits and his family were forced to move into a shack. Betje visited her husband and in-laws every day. She and Mrs. Wijnberg often sat together knitting and discussing books.

On October 12, 1942, Betje was deported to Auschwitz, where she perished. She was 22 years old.

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